ATLANTA – It is somewhat ironic that during an event where companies are announcing a number of new partnerships and agreements, the event itself has instituted a “no handshake” policy due to concerns around the disease called COVID-19. Still, Day 2 of the event saw many new announcements in the materials handling space. Exhibitors forged ahead by showing new products and services despite a large drop in attendees compared to the show two years ago (MODEX alternates events with ProMat), according to many observers at the event. In addition, we are starting to see custom products that are adding features to address specific needs of customers, such as smaller robots or auto-charging capabilities, whereas before the offerings were “one size fits all”.
Here are a bunch of announcements made today, along with some news that we missed in the Day 1 roundup:
Locus teams with CEVA
Locus Robotics announced the addition of CEVA Logistics as one of its new international clients. The autonomous mobile robot company said CEVA has deployed robots at its Roosendaal, Netherlands, location to handle online order fulfillment for their retail partner selling household and consumer goods.
“At CEVA we are committed to innovation for our business and our people,” said Bart Beeks, managing director of North Europe at CEVA. “The addition of Locus to our operation is helping us to quickly achieve that vision.”
Launching the Locus solution in January 2020, CEVA reported it is already closing in on 1 million units picked, with the company saying the deployment has dramatically increased worker productivity and improved workplace quality. Read more here.
Predictive maintenance for warehouses
MHS, which provides material handling automation and software, announced the launch of MHS Insights, a condition-based maintenance solution that monitors assets through IoT sensors and system data for predictive maintenance and health assessments.
“By not leveraging data, warehouses and distribution centers miss significant opportunities to reduce downtime and make their service operations more effective and efficient,” said John Sorenson, senior vice president, lifecycle performance services at MHS. “MHS Insights is designed to address this deficiency by combining data and analytics to provide precise, timely maintenance insights.”
The software integrates readings from multiple data sources with predictive models, historical readings and detailed knowledge of failure modes. It gives customers condition-based predictive alerts on potential failures, rated with a red, yellow or green level of urgency. MHS said these recommendations “come well ahead of when alarms would activate in the control room.” Read more here.
Covariant, KNAPP team on Pick-it-Easy Robot
Covariant, an AI robotics company, and KNAPP, a supplier of intralogistics systems, announced a partnership that would deploy and bring to market advanced AI robotics solutions. The companies have already developed several solutions together, including the Pick-It-Easy Robot, designed for high performance single-picking applications. The companies said the robot is currently operating in production at several customer sites in North America and Europe, including at Obeta, a German electrical supply wholesaler outside Berlin.
KNAPP implemented its first Pick-It-Easy Robot seven years ago in Europe, and has been actively developing and refining robotic and vision system technology since then, the company said in a statement. The new Pick-It-Easy Robot powered by Covariant is now deployed, field proven, and ready to use. “It can handle unlimited SKU types and works on challenging objects, including polybags, banded-apparel, transparent objects and blister packs,” said Jusuf Buzimkic, senior vice president of engineering at KNAPP. “It also learns to pick new objects it’s never seen before and improves over time.” The companies said the system can easily integrate into warehouses and facilities in the e-commerce, retail, electronics, cosmetics, food, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare industries. Read more here.
New Seegrid tow tractor features auto-charge
Seegrid, which recently rebranded with a new logo and website, announced the launch of the GT10 Series 7 Plus (see photo, above), a vision guided vehicle that features auto-charge integration and enhanced sensing, designed to advance automated material movement for manufacturing, distribution and e-commerce companies.
The GT10 Series 7 Plus automated tow tractor features a shorter mast structure to accommodate facilities with height restrictions, and comes standard with auto-hitch capabilities. It also features reverse sensing for added functionality.
The auto-charge feature lets customers automate the battery charging process. The auto-charge is integrated into the Seegrid Supervisor fleet management software, which monitors the vehicle battery levels and automatically sends vehicles to charging stations, and schedules vehicles to return to production once a full charge is reached.
“The GT10 Series 7 Plus closes the automation loop by providing an end-to-end solution with charging in between jobs, removing the need for human assistance to complete the repetitive and hazardous task fo battery maintenance,” said Jeff Christensen, vice president of products at Seegrid. “This not only allows for safer work environments, but it also provides a more consistent throughput for a rapid return on investment for our customers.” Read more here.
- Waypoint Robotics announced a partnership with Numina Group that will integrate its RDS Batch Bot real-time distribution software with Waypoint’s Vector AMR. The company also announced a new top module called Kingpin that enables its omnidirectional AMRs to pick up and move carts so human operators can focus on high-value order picking. Read more here.
- Wheel manufacturer OMNIA was showcasing its omni-wheels, which allows 360-degree maneuverability without the need for turning or swiveling the wheels, giving it benefits over traditional caster wheels. The omni-wheel can be used in any application requiring 360-degree movement, ranging from manual handling trucks and conveyor systems, to medical equipment and robotics, the company said. Read more here.
- Cornerstone Specialty Wood Products, the manufacturer of ResinDek elevated flooring panels, was showing off its full product lineup at the event. Designed and engineered specifically for mezzanines, industrial work platforms and pick modules, the panels can also be specified with unique finishes that optimize optimal performance in applications that utilize AMRs and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Several robotics companies at MODEX, including 6 River Systems, Locus Robotics, and Hai Robotics, were featuring the engineered flooring in their booths. Read more here.